The seeing eye dog sat next to his master at a little table. He was a big yellow lab, looking calm and contented. All around him was the chaos of after Christmas boredom, but he seemed unbothered. His master sat quietly as well, still wearing his heavy coat, waiting for his wife (?) to bring him a drink and some ice for the dog. He was smiling, I think. Taking in the scene I expect. The sounds of shoes, boots, muzak and high pitched teenage voices racing past. Smells of fried food, pretzels, too much (too cheap) perfume and wintercoats filled with cigarette smoke. There was plenty to keep him amused without seeing anything.

Adults who went by glanced at the dog, but stared at the person. Visably uncomfortable. Most people don't like seeing any kind of handicapped person in public. Kids were just the opposite. Coming over to see the dog - whispering to their parents (loud of enough for eavesdroppers like me to hear)-

Can I pet him???

"Go ask the man" the mother says. And the kids do and of course he says yes and of course the dog wags his tail, glad to be of service, as always.

--I love the way people whisper around blind people, as if they might not hear them. --

The woman came back and the couple drank their coffee and the dog ate ice out of a cup as the traffic pushed past, a constant stream of black coats and black boots. Older people with white hair and kids in shades of brown, blond and green. Everyone was happy to be out of the house, even the dog, who had closed his eyes for a brief nap as I left.

Serene in the sensory overload.

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